Every week is a dog fight in the NFL where some fights rise to memorable levels. For some, we can draw upon a recent experience in that we opened up last year in St. Louis versus the Ram's. That game resulted in a blow out however what was clear from that contest was that the Rams defense, especially the front seven were obviously at an elite level in this league. We were quite fortunate that Patterson resulted in over 100 yards rushing in that game with a TD. Patterson opened the option of misdirection that opened holes for Peterson that would otherwise be closed by this impressive defense. For the day, Peterson was bottled up for 77 yards of rushing, which means that front seven was focus on AD like a laser. On our side of the ledger, Teddy was on the bench ... and he will be a major factor in Sundays contest.
There are two mental traps in this particular game. The first is that we are playing at home where we think we have an advantage. The other is that on its surface the Rams appear to be quite beatable however as we all know ... running teams always travel well.
Of greatest concern is our run defense. In the past it has been suspect, most likely due to gap integrity. We will be especially vulnerable without one of our best run defenders .. Sharrif Floyd. It could be stated that our prime defensive asset is youth combined with team speed, resulting in well above average quarterback pressures. If this team needs a wake up call in facing these Ram's they should be watching Super Bowls VIII, IX and XI. Why? It's because those team were set up to sack and pressure the quarterback ... just like today ... not to defend the run ... and the result was devastating on the greatest world stage where Oakland, Miami and Pittsburgh were all well equipped to run the ball down our throats ... and that is exactly what they did.
This weekend, versus Todd Gurley, there are one of two things that will happen. Gurley is going to be bottled up by maintaining disciplined gap responsibility ... with a defense-minded "run first mentality" ... or Gurley is going to rip us open like a can of Tuna. There is one thing that you can count on and that is that regardless of the score ... they are going to put the ball in Gurley's hands where we are going to be especially vulnerable in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Of course this may change somewhat if we are fortunate enough to have a substantial lead by then.
Be so advised. You don't want to be exposed by Gurley (The Packers will be watching),on this stage, due to mental run assignment mistakes, as it will follow you into the playoffs, if we are fortunate enough to run this upcoming gauntlet.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: November 4, 2015